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Advice for families
A diagnosis of dementia for someone in the family does not just affect the individual, it affects the whole family unit. At first it may not be too difficult to cope with a person's occasional forgetfulness and confusion; however, as the dementia progresses there will be more challenging issues to face.
Family roles will change; things that the person with dementia used to do may now have to be done by other family members or more help offered to enable the person to continue to do tasks to the best of their ability.
Spouses and partners may find it particularly difficult with regard to communicating messages and feelings; somebody you used to confide in may no longer understand what you mean and may not be able to offer the comfort and support they once used to. The ability to work things out logically and through a reasoning process will deteriorate and the individual will find it hard to make sense of the world around them.
A Poem by Louis Hedges (Age 8)
SHE COULD NOT REMEMBER HER NAME
BUT THAT IS NO REASON TO BLAME
SHE COULDN'T REMEMBER HOW TO WALK
NO QUESTIONS PLEASE FOR SHE COULD NOT TALK
SHE COULD ONLY STAY IN BED
AND HAD TO BE FED
SHE USED TO WHISPER TO HER RELFECTION
STRANGE THINGS I CANNOT MENTION
GRANDPA HAD TO TAKE CARE OF GRANDMA
POOR GRANDPA HE IS A STAR
SHE HAD THE DISEASE FOR 14 YEARS
SO LONG THAT IT MADE US IN TEARS
THIS DISEASE I WISH SHE'D NEVER HAD
THINKING OF IT MAKES ME SO SAD
IT'S NOT FAIR YOU CAN'T SEE US GROW UP
POOR GRANDMA WE MISS YOU SO MUCH
For advice on practical aspects of caring for someone with dementia please look at the factsheets in the Information for Carers section.